Ghost In The Machine by C. E. Kilgore
Love is like a wormhole. You stumble on to it blindly, it sucks you in and takes you somewhere completely unexpected. You can’t fight it, because that would tear your ship apart. You can’t control it, either. All you can do is set your thrusters on glide and let it take you where it’s going to take you.
Ghost In The Machine is a mature space opera romance with strong language, some violence, a good heaping of romance, some steamy bits, a few crazy aliens, one very confused android, an empathic girl with emotional issues who tends to trip herself up, and a crew of space agents who seem to enjoy making their Central Director yank out her hair.
Going against the rules of her Vesparian Sisterhood, which seeks to keep its entire existence a secret, Orynn is thrown into the open by a request for help that she could not refuse. Seeking to reconcile past mistakes and gain a forgiveness she feels she does not deserve, the fragile control over her empathic abilities is put to the test. The darkness that lives within her spirit has grown impatient and threatens to once again destroy any piece of happiness that she allows herself to find.
As a Mechatronic Automaton, Ethan navigates his world through a set of logically defined values and understandings. Encountering Orynn throws his system off balance as he tries to decide if he should trust the feelings he is developing, or if he should follow the logic telling him that she is trying to control him for some unknown purpose. As his understanding of her develops, he begins to question all of his preconceived notions about both himself and the universe around him.
In his attempts to capture the Vesparian prey he has been hunting after for two decades, the First Commander of the Xen’dari fleet will stop at nothing and track Orynn to the ends of the universe. On a path of vengeance for a past he can’t let go of, he will do everything in his power to burn her world down around her feet until nothing is left but ash and the bitter taste of regret.
Ghosts of the past clash with hopes for the future in this first book of the series, set in a universe where nothing is as it seems at first glance and trust is a highly priced commodity.
Note: Some romances have a story to tell beyond what one book can contain. This story has a ‘romantic settlement’ ending, which some may consider a cliffhanger, with the romance story to be continued in the next book.